This day they would visit a couple of sites in the city showing the history of mankind. Thesa had arranged a minivan for Guy and they went off on their trip.
They started at the prehistoric museum where the girls learned about humanity’s first use of tools.
‘For us this came much later. We had our own equipment for hunting so we didn’t need spears and knifes.’ Feli said.
‘I can imagine.’ Guy said. ‘I must have a look at your history one day.’
After lunch at a cafe they walked around the last museum with recent history. Guy saw Cani looking around nervously.
‘Bathroom.’ she whispered.
‘Ah.’ he said and pointed to a door in the corner of the hall. ‘That way. I think it’s a bit further down the hall.’
She hurried over and he went back to watching the displays with Feli.
Cani found the bathroom right away and felt very relieved when she came out. She looked outside over the courtyard through an open window when she heard noises coming from the other end of the hallway. Curiously she walked up to the door and saw a sign that said Black Pages. Carefully she opened the door and saw the violent history of mankind on display.
Guy looked at the clock. ‘She’s been away for some time now. I think I’ll check up on her.’
‘I’ll come with you.’ Feli said and they walked to the bathroom.
When she didn’t find Cani inside they decided to check the other side as there was no other way out.
Guy read the sign and got a bad feeling. They walked in and found her standing in the middle of the hall in front of a display of pictures from a recent war.
‘Ah shit.’ Guy said as he saw tears on her face.
She looked back at him. ‘Is this true?’
He nodded. ‘I’m afraid so. Humanity has a dark side and we’re not proud of it, but we musn’t hide it either. Hopefully one day we can all be at peace with each other. It will take time and patience though. I’m realy sorry you had to see this.’
She fell in his arms and cried while he stroked her head.
‘She never could handle dramatic things like wars.’ Feli said. ‘We too have had our share but this scares even me.’
‘I’m sorry. You must think humanity is evil.’
‘Yeah, but then there are all the good people in your street so it must not be all bad.’
‘True. And if we can focus on that good, simple life we might achieve real enlightenment one day.’
‘Can we go home now?’ Cani asked.
He nodded. ‘Yeah, let’s go.’
The museum director hurried up to them as they left the hall.
‘Im sorry, that exhibit was to be closed off today.’
‘They would have found out about it sooner or later. Might as well get it over with.’
‘Please don’t think all bad about us.’ he said to the girls. ‘I hope you’ve also learned about the wonderful arts and inventions we’ve created over the years.’
Feli nodded. ‘We all have our two sides, I just hope we can let go of our bad sides one day.’
He nodded. ‘I hope this exhibition will help realise that.’
‘Thank you for your concern, and for educating people.’ Guy said.
‘Thank you for visiting. We’re honoured to have you here.’
Back at the car an usher came running up to them holding tickets in his hand.
‘The director would like you to have these. He would like for them to experience the fun side to humanity as well.’
Guy took the tickets to a large amusement park. ‘Tell him we’re very happy to get these, and we’ll certainly enjoy our time there and will remember his generousity.’
He showed them to the girls. ‘Thanks to him we have plans for tomorrow.’
By the time they got home Cani felt much better and watching a comedy during dinner made them forget about the experience for a while.
When it got time to sleep Cani took Guy’s futon and took it to their side. ‘You might as well start sleeping here.’
He looked at Feli.
‘Yeah, I feel more comfortable sleeping next to you as well.’
‘Guess I can’t refuse a majority decision.’ he said and crawled under the futon with them.
The next morning they woke up from the knocking on the door. Guy stood up feeling groggy and found Thesa outside.
She stepped in and showed him a picture of him holding a crying Cani.
‘Yes, that. You were supposed to shield them from that. We can’t have them tell about those things about us.’
‘It’s not his fault.’ Cani said as she walked in. ‘I walked into that on my own.’
‘Even so, he should have kept an eye on you.’
‘I’m glad he doesn’t act as my nanny. That won’t make my stay more comfortable.’
The phone rang and Feli, who just walked in picked it up.
‘Yes. Yes, we did. Really? No, we didn’t think it would make a real difference. He is? No, tell him we’re happy to have helped in this way. Thank you.’
They looked at her.
‘That was the museum. It seems our post on the exhibition has made a lot of people go there to take a look. There are schools who would like to reserve time there to teach special lessons on what effect war has on society. It’ll become a permamnent exhibition soon and the director wanted to say thanks for writing about it.’
‘Well, I guess that was one part of the good news then.’ Thesa said.
‘There’s more?’ Guy asked.
‘This picture of Cani has gone viral and it ended up influencing the peacetalks at the southern countries. Apparently both parties are willing to settle things now and have signed a truce.’
‘Nope.’ she said and smiled.
He looked at Cani who jumped in his arms wagging her tail. ‘Those tears were worth it then.’
‘Yeah.’ he said and stroked her head.
A knock on the door had them looking that way to a courier with several packages.
‘Special delivery from General Moralez and president Mitchofsky.’
Guy opened the letter. ‘It’s a thank you for reminding them about the pain they caused the people and making them stop their petty war. These are specialties from their countries which they hope we’ll enjoy with their gratitude. And perhaps one day be able to visit.’
Cani opened one carton. ‘Fruits, dried wild meat, small locally made items. It has all sorts of things.’
‘Can you deliver a message to them?’ Cani asked the courier who nodded.
‘Give our gratitude to the general and president, and ask them to do their best to bring happiness to their people. If they can do that they will have brought a smile to my face and I will look forward to visiting their countries.’
The courier left and Guy sat down. ‘Again, what a morning.’
They packed some of the food for a trip to the beach.
‘Ready?’ Guy asked the girls.
He looked into their room when he didn’t get an answer and watched them standing in a pile of clothes.
‘We don’t have any bathing suits.’
After he was done laughing he would drive to a clothing store first.
The girls went through the racks looking at all the different designs. One attendant handed him a cup of cool water.
‘Thanks. I’m afraid it’ll take some time.’
‘That’s normal for women. Especially when they go with a guy. And they have to have something matching their own fur.’
‘Am I glad guys have it easier.’
‘And that’s why we compensate.’ she giggled.
‘One more mystery solved.’
‘How’s this?’ Cani asked him showing a bikini set.
He looked at it and shook his head. ‘I think stronger colours compliment your black fur better.’
‘Okay.’ she said and returned to the rack.
Feli showed her choice of a blue bikini reluctantly.
‘I think that will look really good on you. It’s a good colour with your white fur.’
‘Thank you.’ she whispered and returned to the back to try it on.
‘Are they really both your girlfriends?’ the attendant asked.
‘Wait, what? What makes you think that?’
‘They aren’t? Usually they ask the opinion of their boyfriends.’
‘I’m not. They just stay at my place while they’re here.’
‘I see. could have fooled me.’ she said as she left to help another customer.
Cani beckoned him to the fitting room and he walked over. She pulled out Feli and they posed with the swimsuits.
‘So, how do we look?’
He looked at them for a moment to get used to them. ‘You look really great.’
Feli looked away. ‘You’re just saying that.’
‘No, really. Those bikinis really suit you. You’ll cause a stir at the beach.’
‘Great!’ Cani said and pushed Feli behind the curtain. ‘We’re getting dressed so get ready to go.’
He went to the counter to pay and the girls showed up.
‘Have fun at the beach then.’ the attendant said and winked at him.
He blushed. ‘Thanks.’
At the beach they easily found a good spot where Guy set up a large parasol.
‘Welcome to the sands of humanity.’
Feli snickered. ‘You’ve been writing too much.’
‘Hey, it adds that extra special flavour.’
They took off their dresses and he noticed the reaction from the people who saw them coming, especially the guys.
‘Guess I’ll be the envy and target today.’ he said to himself.
‘What?’ Cani asked.
‘Oh, nothing. Are you ready to get into the water?’
‘Only if you come with me.’
‘I will keep you safe. There’s nothing to worry about and I hope I can show you that today.’
She took his hand.
‘Are you ready too?’ he asked Feli.
‘I’m not afraid of water.’ she said, but held out her hand. ‘But if you’re holding her hand I want that too.’
He smiled. ‘I’m happy to.’ “And to be honest, I don’t mind making some guys jealous.” he thought.
Together they walked up to the water. Cani reluctantly took a few steps, then clinged really close to Guy.
‘I’m here so take your time.’
Feli took her hand as well. ‘Don’t forget about me. We’re there for you.’
Cani nodded and took slow steps further into the water. When it reached her waist she stopped.
‘That’s far enough for now. Try to get used to this for now.’
Cani nodded and Feli went in further swiming on her back. ‘Come and join me soon. I don’t want to swim out here on my own.’
‘Maybe you should join her.’ Cani told Guy.
‘Not while you’re uncomfortable. She wouldn’t want me to.’
‘True, but I need time to get used to this so you go swim with her.’
‘I hate to leave you here.’
She smiled. ‘I know, but if I keep you here I’ll hate myself.’ she said and pushed him into the water.
He shook the water from his head. ‘You sure?’
She nodded. ‘No, so come back soon.’
He smiled. ‘You’ll never have to be without me.’
‘I know, so go have fun with Feli.’
He turned and swam towards Feli who had swam further out into the sea.
‘You’re just too nice.’ she said and looked out over the water.
There weren’t many people at the beach at this time of the week and she felt glad for the quiet. She felt herself get used to the feeling of the water and relaxed a little more. Then some splashing caught her attention. Further out into the sea she could see someone trying to keep above water. She saw the figure going down a couple of times, then not come back up.
‘Help! Someone needs help over there!’ she shouted looking around but no-one seemed to be close enough to hear her.
‘Help!’ she tried again and looked at the spot where the figure had been.
“Shit.” she thought to herself and dived into the water.
She swam as best as she could remember to the spot she thought she saw, then took a deep breath and dived down. The water was clear so she soon found the body going down slowly. Without hesitation she went down, grabbed the body and tried to swim back up. Her lack of experience meant she had trouble getting back up and she had to surpress the feeling of panic. Her sight started to blur when she couldn’t hold her breath anymore and she was afraid this might be it. The last thing she saw before fainting was a blur heading her way.
The next moment she woke up with Feli bending over her.
‘Are you okay?’
She coughed up some water. ‘Yeah, I’m okay.’
She saw Guy giving artificial respiration to a bird-like creature.
‘She’s lucky you saw her in the water. If you hadn’t tried to rescue her she would have drowned for sure.’
The bird started coughing and Guy turned her over to let water out of her longs. The crowd around them felt relieved and a medic arrived to check up on her. He ordered an ambulance and since nobody had mmore experience with other species Guy volunteered to call Thesa and come to the hospital.
The girls packed their things and they drove off to the hospital where Guy made the call to Thesa.
‘She’s fine for now.’ the doctor said. ‘There is no permanent damage as far as we can tell thanks to your quick reaction. You can see her now if you want to.’
‘Thank you.’ Feli said and Cani opened the door slowly to the room of the bird.
She opened her eyes. ‘Are you the one who saved me?’
Cani sat down next to her. ‘Sort of. It was Guy who eventually saved us both.’
‘Thank you.’ she said to Guy.
‘It was Cani who spotted you. She deserves your thanks.’
‘So what brought you here?’
‘I was to be sent here to find out what people were up to here together with your people.’ she said, gesturing with a nod to Feli. ‘Then they postponed it officially but asked me to come here quietly anyway.’
‘Like a spy?’ Cani asked.
The bird nodded.
‘Tensions are still high between our species.’ Feli said. ‘Even though we haven’t been at war in ages.’
Guy’s phone went off and he took the call from Thesa outside.
‘You’re getting company.’ she said. ‘They’re not mine and I think they want to take the bird.’
‘Ask your new friend.’
He hung up and hurried back into the room. ‘Thesa said men are coming here, probably to take you away.’
‘No! They found out I failed my mission so they’ll try to silence me!’ the bird said and clung to the bed sheet. ‘What do I do?’
‘Guy? Could you distract them?’ Feli asked. ‘Then I’l take her out the back.’
‘Yeah, but how?’ he said looking around, then got an idea seeing Cani with one of the bird’s feathers in her hand.
Four men dressed in standard black suits came out the elevator and went down the hallway when all of a sudden a door smashed open and someone fell down the hallway covered in blood.
‘NO!’ he screamed while there was a loud racket coming from the room.. ‘Don’t!’
The men hurried closer and saw a wild black beast through the window inside. It snarled at the window outside, then turned around and they saw feathers and blood on its mouth.
‘Quick! Get away before it attacks you too!’ the guy yelled while he got up and limped away.
One of the men started moving back already when the beast saw them. It snarled again and jumped over the bed towards the door. This was enough to get them all running back down the hallway. The beast slipped on the hard floor but picked up speed soon. Luckily the door to the stairwell was close and the men rushed through it, then closed it as fast as they could. One moment later the door shook as the beast rammed it. It snarled and scratched furiously at it, then it became silent.
One minute later Guy and the girls drove through the small streets on the way home.
‘Think they’re still shaking in their boots behind the door?’ Cani asked and snickered.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised.’ Guy said. ‘You were really scary back there. Now I’m afraid of ever making you mad.’
‘And you better know it.’ she said, growling playfully.
‘How are you doing?’ Guy asked the bird.
‘Sorry about having to pull a few of your feathers.’
‘I’m glad to give them in exchange for getting out of there safely.’ she said and turned to Feli. ‘Thanks for saving me, but why would you help me?’
Feli shrugged her shoulders. ‘It’s not like we’re on bad terms. We couldn’t just let you get taken away now, right?’
‘So where are we going?’
‘To our place.’ Guy said. ‘You will be safe with us. If anyone tries anything it would cause an international incident.’
Back home Feli made refreshments while Cani and Guy unloaded the van.
‘Here,’ she said as she handed a mixed fruit juice to the bird. ‘This should give you some energy.’
‘Thanks. I’m Avia by the way.’
‘Welcome to our simple home, Avia. Although it’s mostly Guy’s.’
Feli explained how they ended up at his place just before Cani and Guy arrived.
‘How are you feeling?’ Guy asked.
‘Tired, but grateful. Thank you again.’
‘Get some good rest tonight, we’ll see about the rest tomorrow.’
Feli led Avia to the place she could sleep for the night.
Guy wiped some ketchup from Cani’s muzzle. ‘You go bathe first.’
Cani looked at the shower, then pulled on his shirt. ‘Come with me?’
Guy blushed a little. ‘Why?’
‘I don’t like it alone.’
‘Why not wait for Feli?’
‘Feel safer with you.’
‘I don’t know.’
He gave in and led her to the shower. He avoided looking at her while she undressed.
‘Yes.’ she said as she sat on the stool, preparing for the shower.
He sat down behind her, then carefully rinsed her bit by bit. He felt her relax slowly and started shampooing her back and hair slowly. When that was done she leaned back against him.
‘Were you really scared?’ she asked.
‘When you pretended to have attacked Avia and me?’
‘Somehow, I wasn’t.’ he said and washed her arms. ‘I just admired your ferocity. Like I wouldn’t mind fighting with you as long as it was you because it would have a good end anyhow.’
She put her hands in his and nuzzled his jaw. ‘I’ve never felt as safe near water as with you. Thank you.’
‘Cani.’ he whispered, then the door opened.
‘Hey, why did you go in without me?’ Feli asked.
‘You wanted to get in the shower so much?’ Guy asked.
She looked away a little. ‘If you go with Cani then I want to go too.’
For a moment he didn’t know how to reply to that. ‘You want me to wash you too?’
‘Well, if you don’t mind me.’
She sat down on another stool next to Cani and he started washing her back.
‘You know, you girls are dangerous.’
‘Why?’ Feli asked.
‘Because no matter the species, if girls demand this much attention any guy would lose his sanity.’
‘Have you?’ asked Feli after a moment.
‘I’m long gone.’
‘Shouldn’t we do this then?’
‘You shouldn’t, but I’d rather you did and make me lose my mind.’
‘You realise what you’re saying?’
‘You realise what you’ve been doing?’
Feli looked at Cani. ‘You think we’d get into a lot of trouble?’
‘Probably.’ Cani said and leaned back again against Guy.
Feli leaned back against him as well. ‘Sorry.’ she whispered.
‘I think I’ll survive as long as you stay.’ he whispered and embraced them.
After a few moments he finished washing their backs, they washed him and they left the shower after another few moments of holding each other close.
‘Should we tell someone?’ Feli asked later when they cuddled together on the couch.
‘Like, make it official?’ Cani asked.
‘Probably cause a riot at home and here.’
‘Why not let everybody find out for themselves?’ Guy asked.
‘Don’t confirm, don’t deny?’ Feli asked.
‘Yeah. We can take it slowly. For me it’s something I have to get used to.’
Cani nodded in agreement. ‘I don’t mind keeping people guessing. Kinda fun to see that.’
‘All right then, we won’t tell just yet.’
The girls giggled while cuddlling tighter with him.
‘Good morning.’ Cani whispered when Guy opened his eyes.
He smiled at her. ‘Good morning.’
She gently rubbed her nose against his. ‘I’m not sure if we can kiss.’
He caressed her cheek. ‘We can try.’ he said and gently placed his lips against hers.
They played with their lips and tongue and ended up kissing full force. After feeling a little satisfied they nuzzled some more until Guy felt a poke on his cheek.
He looked back at Feli pouting a little.
He smiled. ‘Happy to oblige.’ he whispered and started kissing her softly.
After exchanging several more kisses they heard a noise and saw Avia looking around the wall.
‘Sorry.’ she said. ‘I was a little curious.’
‘Guess Avia’s the first to find out about our little secret.’ Guy said as he looked up at the ceiling.
‘It’s okay.’ said Feli. ‘It would have been obvious anyway seeing us sleeping together.’
She came closer and sat down next to them. ‘You’ve really fallen love with each other?’
‘I’d say I haven’t just fallen, but crashed badly.’ said Guy and snickered.
‘And you don’t mind they’re not human?’
He shook his head. ‘All I see are two beautiful girls I want to be close to.’
She nodded a little and smiled softly.
‘So how are you feeling this morning?’
‘Anything special you eat for breakfast? I’ll be going down to the shops next.’
She shook her head. ‘I eat mostly bread.’
‘Well, the baker has really good bread, so be ready for a treat.’
She smiled. ‘Thanks.’
When he went downstairs with Cani later she helped Feli setting the low table in the room.
‘I can see why you fell for him. He really is nice.’
Feli looked a little dreamy at the table. ‘Yeah.’
Downstairs Guy waited for Cani to come down.
She nodded but fiddled with her fingers.
‘Something on your mind?’
She nodded again.
‘So? What is it?’
She held out her hand to him.
‘You want to hold hands?’
He smiled and took her hand in his, then they went down the street to the baker. On the way they met his aunt who smiled.
‘So I was right after all.’
‘About what?’ he asked.
She gestured at their hands.
Cani leaned against him. ‘Only since last evening. We hadn’t really thought about it until last evening. We’ve never fell in love before with any guy.’
‘Ehm, yeah.’ Guy said. ‘Feli too.’
‘You really took both of them as girlfriends?’
‘Yeah.’ he said blushing.
‘Well, I’m not surprised with the way you looked at both of them.’
‘You’re not mad?’
His aunt smiled. ‘Why would I? You should know what you’re getting into, and as long as you’re all happy together that’s all that counts.’
‘Just remember, you’re not too old to get a good earfull if I ever hear you make either of them cry.’
Guy looked at Cani. ‘Well, looks like I’ll be on a leash from now on.’
She smiled at him. ‘I guess if we go walking like that I’ll be the envy of all canines in the neighbourhood.’
‘Oh, you’d enjoy that, wouldn’t you? But for now, we’re just going to the bakery so hop along.’
She giggled waving his auntie goodbye and he looked up at the sky. ‘What did I get myself into?’
She squeezed his hand. ‘Are you regretting it already? Want to end it?’
‘Yes. And definitely no.’
‘You’re weird.’ she said laughing.
At the bakery the girls pulled her aside as soon as they saw them coming in.
‘Girl talk.’ the baker told Guy.
‘Yeah, I’d better get used to it from now on.’
‘So you really went for it, eh?’
Guy nodded. ‘Never thought something like this would happen. Neither did they.’
The baker stared at him for a moment. ‘Don’t tell me.’
Guy shook his head.
‘And they’re okay with it?’
Guy gave anothe nod.
‘Man, I hope you can handle them, not to mention the mother-in-laws.’
Guy looked at the baker. ‘Shit, hadn’t thought of that.’
The next moment the girls looked at Guy and their father funny as they were laughing hard. ‘Must be guy talk.’ one of them said.
‘I’d like a collection of different buns. We’ve got a guest who knows bread, so we’ve got to present our best to her.’
The baker collected different buns from the shelves. ‘Her? One more?’
‘Yeah, but not what you think.’ he added quickly. ‘She’s not supposed to be here at all.’
‘I see. Be careful then.’ the baker said as he handed Guy the paper bag with buns.
‘Yeah.’ Guy said and looked at Cani who watched the pastries shown by the girls. Her tail was wagging. ‘Right, I think we’ll need some of that as well.’
When they got back home Guy put the bread on the table and went to the kitchen. Avia nudged Cani’s arm.
‘Can I as you something?’
‘Why, how did you fall for him? If it’s too personal, forget I asked. Just curious.’
Cani looked at her. ‘How?’ She looked away for a few moments. ‘I honestly have no idea. At first I thought he was a bad guy, but then I found out he was really nice, and cared for us.’ She looked back at Avia. ‘When he saved me, us, I knew I only wanted to stay by his side.’
Avia nodded. ‘Thanks.’
‘Let’s eat.’ Feli said as she and Guy brought the last items for breakfast.
‘So? How’s our choice of bread?’ asked Guy after Avia ate a few buns.
The baker will be delighted to hear that.’
She nodded. ‘Give him my thanks.’
They merrily finished breakfast, then Feli sat down next to Avia while Cani and Guy did the dishes.
‘You want to talk about it?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I’ve seen the way you glanced at Guy several times. You want to say something but don’t know how to?’
Avia sighed and nodded a little.
‘Maybe I can help?’
Avia stroked her wings in thought.
‘It’s just, I don’t know if I should follow our traditions here, or if it’s inappropriate.’
Feli thought for a while about it.
‘I can’t really give you an answer. Humans are very adaptable and have many different customs, so my guess is it’ll be fine if you want to follow tradition.’
Avia smiled a little at Feli and nodded.
‘So, is there something you want to do?’
‘It’s more like, something I should do for what has been given to me.’
At that moment Guy and Cani returned and sat back down at the table.
‘So, how are you now after your first night and breakfast here?’ he asked.
‘I’m good, thanks.’
‘Glad to hear it.’ he said and took the project schedule. ‘So what are we on for today?’
Avia crawled around the table and bowed to him to the surprise of the others.
‘Ehm, what are you doing?’
‘In our society there is a strict tradition. If one saves another’s life it will belong to them.’
‘You saved my life yesterday, twice even, so I give myself to you to do with as you please.’
‘Wait, what? You can’t just give yourself away.’
Avia looked up at him. ‘Would you not be satisfied with me?’
He cleared his throat. ‘Look, I understand you’re grateful, but you don’t have to repay with yourself. I’m just happy that you’re alive and well.’
Avia sat up. ‘Then what about Feli and Cani? You took them after you saved them.’
He looked at the other girls. ‘That wasn’t because I helped them.’
Cani laid her hand on Avia’s. ‘We’re very grateful for what he did, and it made a difference, but we chose to be closer to him, not because of any tradition or custom.’
‘I’d feel guilty if that was the case.’ he said. ‘So forget about tradition and just do what you want to do.’
Avia smiled and nodded. ‘You really are as good as they said.’
He blushed. ‘Hey, they haven’t met my bad side yet. I’m not perfect.’
‘I’m not worried.’ Cani said and grinned. ‘I’ll just bite if it comes to that.’
‘Anyways, you can stay until you figured out what you want to do next. In the meantime you can join us on our cultural exchange if you want to.’ Guy said.
‘Thank you.’ Avia said and hugged him.
‘Hey, no hugging without me!’ Cani said and pounced them.
Feli sighed and shook her head. ‘It’s becoming a zoo here, even if I say so myself.’